Why press releases should have a “shelf life” or how SciQuest has taken the practice to a new low by Jon Hansen

Posted on June 11, 2014


For those who have followed this blog for any length of time, you already know that I have never been a big fan of press releases.

I have always considered them to be little more than contrived exercises in self-promotion that generally make infomercials look like legitimate sources of real news.

Within the above context, it would be hard to imagine adding anything that would further “tarnish” the practice of this scripted chest pounding . . . at least one would think.

Unfortunately, and upon reading a SciQuest June 10th, 2014 press release titled “Educational Institutions Go to the Head of the Class with SciQuest,” a new low has been established.

Within the body of this latest and greatest news, the company proclaims that “TODAY” they have added “several NEW customers in the higher education market, including Drexel University, Lamar University, Sam Houston State University, Santa Fe Community College, Savannah College of Art and Design, and the Texas State University System.”

WOW!  The company must be great.  Look at all the NEW customers they have added!  NEW!!!!

Obviously in light of this breaking news every higher education institution should get on the SciQuest bandwagon.  After all, most vendor press releases talk about a single client deal.  SciQuest however is tearing up the market to the extent that their press releases proclaim multiple NEW deals.  Where do I sign-up?

Recalling one of the more memorable Jack Nicholson lines from the movie a Few Good Men, when he mockingly talked about surrendering the U.S. position in Cuba . . . “Wait a minute, Tom, don’t get the President just yet. Maybe we should consider this for a second,” perhaps we should also consider the true gravity of the SciQuest press release.

Upon a more thorough review of the “facts”, nowhere in the 2014 press release does SciQuest tell us that Texas State University System, Lamar University, and Sam Houston State University were all part of the same E&I “Bobcatalog” deal that the company rolled out in 2010: http://www.txstate.edu/news/news_releases/news_archive/2012/February-2012/RegentsFeb021712.html

All this raises an important question . . . are these really NEW deals?

Even if they are renewals of existing deals, why would the company not tell us this in the press release?  Isn’t keeping clients on board a noteworthy accomplishment?

Why lead us to believe that the company is making all these NEW inroads i.e. “several NEW customers in higher education?”

This of course brings us back full circle to my original point regarding press releases.  The only thing that I would add to what I have previously said is that there should be an expiration date stamp on each one, because press releases should definitely have a shelf life.

By the way, kudos to the Wall Street Journal for the fine job they did in verifying the facts of this latest press release!  Well done!


SciQuest News June 2014

What is the definition of a “NEW” customer?


Posted in: Commentary